|I briefly considered decorating |
this fixture on our
driveway with a string
of Christmas lights.
As we pulled into the driveway in our former airport-shuttle, Chevy express van that seats 12, I called back to the cousins: 'So, we are having work done on the house. The only bathroom that functions right now is this port-a-potty on the driveway.' Margaret, who is 13, was sitting right behind my seat with her buddies Mini and Curly. Her eyes got really big.
I couldn't have them in panic mode for more than 10 seconds. Just couldn't do it. 'Just kidding!' I blurted out. Mini scowled at me. She wanted the joke to go on a bit longer.
Several hours later we were scurrying into the United Center for the second time. I looked down at Jimmy, who is Curly's age. He had no coat on. What the Hell? He told me he forgot it in my house.
Well, I guess arriving home at 1:30, running to Home Depot to select new shelving with Coach, squeezing in a 30 minute nap, whipping up a turkey breast dinner with stuffing (from a box) and all the fixings for this crew by 4:30 pm, rushing them out the door to church at 5 where Coach and I had to teach religious ed and Tank was subbing in Ed's class, and finally corralling them to the United Center was more than I could handle. Somewhere along the lines, I forgot to check that a 10 year old WAS WEARING HIS COAT! This is Chicago. It is December. It was beyond freezing, and it isn't like we parked 10 feet from the building.
After the game Margaret and her brother left with their dad. He was sitting with us in the nosebleed section. Coat-less Jimmy was spending the night at our house, because he lives where God lost his sandals (and maybe his coat). His dad, Coach's younger brother, was driving down to pick him the up the next morning.
When we got home at almost 11 pm, I ordered kids to bring bags of stuff into the house. I refused to buy snacks and drinks at the United Center. Instead, I brought a small grocery store along in the car and distributed the loot to the kids before we braved the harsh winds for our jog into the game.
Curly looked pregnant with all the contraband she was smuggling in under her coat. The other kids also proved to be excellent mules. I, on the other hand, got stopped by security for having a short water bottle in each of my puffy winter coat pockets. I was ticked. The kids were a tad nervous that I was going to let lose on this guy for making me surrender my beverages. My offspring have seen me in action at water polo games when refs suck.
It wasn't booze. I had a bad cold. I wanted some water. I think charging $6 for a water bottle at this venue when you force people to leave unopened waters at the door is downright unamerican. Sorry, I had to vent on that one. Back to our main attraction . . .
With everyone assigned religious ed books or partially filled grocery bags to haul into the house, we marched thru the under-construction kitchen. We were taking off our coats in the front hall when we heard someone knocking on the glass of the deck door. 'It's Jimmy,' Tank informed us.
We questioned him as to why he was still outside (without a coat). Why had he not come inside BEFORE we put the garage door down unintentionally locking him out of the house and forcing him to stumble around over the dismantled deck to pound on the back sliding door?
'I had to go to the bathroom,' he explained.
Oops, he hadn't heard my 'just kidding' punchline way back 10 seconds after my initial tom-foolery. We laughed our butts off, but tried to rein it in when we noticed that our shivering guest
looked like he might cry. Being from Timbuktu, he doesn't hang with us all that regularly. Not sure how he saw his way around a port-a-potty in the pitch black. Reggie asked the burning question on his 11 year old mind, 'Was it #1 or #2?'